Category Archives: Pain Relief Education

6 Techniques For Pain-Free Gardening

gardeningSpringtime and warmer weather are officially here, which means more time spent working out in the yard. While gardening is a therapeutic and leisurely activity, it can lead to muscle aches and pains. Back pain is especially common after having spent less time being physically active during the cold winter months. Kneeling over to weed, dig, mulch, and plant, moving wheelbarrows, and wrangling hoses puts strain on your shoulders, spine, and low back.

Fortunately, there are techniques that help prevent pain so you can continue enjoying and cultivating your beautiful yard.

  • Avoid repetition: Stiffness and soreness is often linked to repetition of the same task over and over again, for long periods of time. Break up your time spent in the garden to reduce muscle strain and feeling overwhelmed. Set aside time to alternate between different tasks: weed for an hour, rake for an hour, plant for an hour, water for an hour.
  • Stay hydrated: Aim to drink 6oz of water every 20 minutes if you are working hard and sweating. Drinking plenty of water will help you maintain energy levels throughout your gardening while also keeping joints and muscles lubricated. Be sure to take breaks every 30 minutes to an hour to cool off and rest inside or under shade.
  • Lift with your knees: When lifting heavy objects like bags of soil or a wheelbarrow, lift with your knees to avoid lower back strain. Try using a posture support like the Cybertech Spine Brace. This spine brace encourages proper posture while helping prevent back injuries.
  • Invest in quality tools: Look to add tools to your collection that are ergonomically designed with cushioned grips. Using old, broken, or rusty tools will make simple jobs even more difficult.
  • Work on hands and knees: Keeping your spine elongated in this position reduces strain. Your shoulders should be over your wrists as they bear most of the weight and responsibility when reaching and supporting your body.
  • Stretch and ice: Incorporate gentle stretches after each gardening day to help you avoid strained muscles and stiffness the next morning. If you are feeling a slight muscle strain, apply an ice pack, such as the ProtoCold Reusable Therapy Pads, to the sore area to help reduce inflammation.

Still feeling aches and pains after a day of gardening? Visit your local Relax The Back location to see our wide range of products and speak with a trained specialist. Based on your specific needs, they can show you products to try in-store to feel the difference they can make in your daily routine. From kneading back massagers, to a Theracane, to an inversion table, our experts can help you find product solutions to prevent pain while gardening and reduce muscle tension and strain after a day of work.

Image via

6 Tips to Prevent Pain While Golfing

golf pain

Golf is one of America’s all-time favorite sports. Like many sports, golf can cause back pain and discomfort. Many golfers will experience some form of back pain at some point during their lives. Even the pros, such as Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson, have complained of back pain when playing. Many different muscle groups are activated when you swing a golf club. Keeping these muscles stretched, flexible, and well-rested is key to injury prevention.

These steps can help you prevent pain and ensure you’ll never miss a tee time:

  • Warm up: Remember a few easy stretches you can do before hitting your opening tee shot to warm up muscles and prevent injury. These stretches from com only take about 2 minutes. In addition to helping get your muscles ready for the game, they can help you play better golf.
  • Take it slow: If you’re new to the sport or haven’t played in a while, try not to overexert yourself. Start with short sessions on the driving range while working your way up to a full round of golf.
  • Incorporate conditioning exercises: A strong core, which includes muscles in your abdomen, back, buttocks, and pelvis, helps keep back pain and injuries away. Add conditioning exercises to strengthen your core as well as exercises that focus on rotation to prepare your body for the twisting motions of swinging a golf club.
  • Stretch: It’s important to have a balance of strength and flexibility when it comes to the game of golf. Having a regular stretching routine before and after the game will help alleviate muscle tension and prevent future strains. Foam rollers are also a great way to release muscle tension and improve flexibility.
  • Invest in an inversion table: Inversion tables help to relieve shoulder, back, and hip pain while improving flexibility and decreasing pressure on our spines. Studies have show that golfers who use Inversion Tables, like the Teeter Hang Ups, averaged 3 fewer strokes per round, increased drive speed by 69%, and improved their total distance by an average of 10%.
  • Rest: With any sport or physical activity, rest is essential. Give yourself some time to recover between games.

When you visit us in-store, we can help you find product solutions for your specific needs. Head to your local Relax The Back location to speak with one of our trained specialists and try out our inversion tables or our numerous fitness and therapy products first-hand to see what works best for you. You’ll leave the store with a better understanding of how you can relieve pain and discomfort at home or on the go.

If you are experiencing back or neck pain, be sure to consult your doctor before stepping back on the course or starting any new stretching routines.

Image via

Back Pain During Pregnancy

pain during pregnancyBack pain during pregnancy is common for most women; between 50% and 80% experience some form of pain. Your growing baby and hormonal changes can be tough on your back. Hormones affecting the joints and relaxing the ligaments in your pelvis, changes in your center of gravity, and weight gain associated with a growing baby add stress to your lower back and spine.

Find Relief

From exercise to proper posture, there are a number of ways to relieve back pain:

  • When sleeping use a pillow, such as the Snoozerpedic Body Pillow or the CountourSleep Knee Spacer, to provide support where you need it most.
  • Regular exercise can boost flexibility, strengthen muscles, and ease stress on your spine. Walking, stationary cycling, and swimming are safe exercises for most women. Speak with your doctor before starting any new exercise regimens.
  • Lumber support cushions provide extra support, reduce upper and lower back pain, and promote proper posture.
  • Heating pads can ease muscle spasms, pain, and tension.
  • Cold therapy helps to reduce inflammation.

How We Can Help

When you visit your local Relax The Back store, our trained specialists will work with you one on one to find a product solution to fit your specific needs. Whether you have pain in your upper or lower back, or discomfort and aches in your legs, a specialist will show you a selection of products to relieve pain as well as ways to maintain relief throughout your pregnancy.

As always, before beginning any type of back pain treatment or exercise, be sure to consult your doctor.

 

Neutral Posture 24/7

neutral posture

When our bodies are properly aligned our bones, rather than our muscles, are supporting our weight. This position is our bodies preferred state, also known as neutral posture. A concept developed by NASA, neutral posture refers to a stress-free position in which our bodies naturally curve to reduce pressure on our spine.

Investing in back-friendly products will provide significant relief throughout the day and improve back health. When you visit a store our trained-specialists will work with you to find products that offer relief from daily pain and discomfort while helping you achieve neutral posture support.

Neutral Posture 24/7

 From your home, to the office, to your bedroom, we have product solutions to help you experience the benefits of neutral posture throughout the day. Working to maintain this posture will help improve circulation while reducing stress and tension in the lumbar and cervical spine.

At the Office

When a majority of our day is spent in front of a computer working, it’s important to have products that allow for proper support and comfort. An ergonomic office chair with the right lumbar support promotes a sitting posture with the natural curve of your spine. An adjustable footrest also reduces pressure on the spine by aligning your lower body with your upper half.

At Home

Relax at home in zero gravity comfort. Zero Gravity chairs elevate your feet to the same height as your heart, increasing circulation, relieving back pressure, and offering correct spinal support. With the push of a button, you’ll find neutral posture relief in seconds.

In the Bedroom

A quality mattress provides support and allows your spine, head, and neck to rest naturally in a neutral position. Adjustable bases and bed wedges help your spine decompress and align in its natural S-shaped curve by raising your feet to the same level as your heart.

Visit your local Relax The Back location today.

 

5 Ways to Relax After Work

relaxHow often do you come home from work and go straight to your favorite chair or spot on the couch, turn on the TV, and spend the rest of your evening there? While catching up on shows or movies can be relaxing, doing this time and time again will leave us feeling unfulfilled and burnt out.

The other side of this situation is when we have difficulty turning off work mode when we get home. Nights like this can cause more harm than good. We may feel we are catching up on work when in reality we are increasing our stress levels and not allowing ourselves the break we deserve.

These 5 tips will help you create an after-work routine that will leave you feeling more relaxed and help to make the most of your free time at home.

  • Go for a walk when you get home: Leave the phone at home (or turn on a do not disturb feature) and take a walk around your neighborhood. There are many benefits of walking. Taking 20-30 minutes to enjoy fresh air and move your muscles after sitting in an office all day will set the tone for a relaxing evening ahead. If the weather is not favorable this time of year, opt for a quick yoga
  • Turn off email alerts, put your computer away: Leave work at work. Take a break from electronics – turn off work email alerts and put your computer away. Checking emails after you’ve left the office will most likely lead to stress and worry instead of a relaxing evening at home. Setting boundaries for work life and personal life will help with stress levels and your overall health and wellness.
  • Set aside time to learn something new: Or pick up an old hobby! Sites like Skillshare offer free classes from photography, to graphic design, to cooking, and so much more. Learn a new language from websites like Duolingo. Whatever it is, set aside time each night to try something you’ve been interested in. You’ll feel more accomplished and fulfilled with your time at home when you’re working on something you enjoy.
  • Listen to music or read a book: Instead of turning on the TV, settle down with a book, and listen to some relaxing music – or enjoy the peace and quiet in a massage chair. Use this time to fully unwind and relax after a long work day.
  • Make a list for the next day: One way to help feel less stressed and worried about the next day is to make a list of tasks you want or need to accomplish and items you may need the next day – such as snacks, your computer charger, a set of workout attire, etc. You will feel prepared for the day ahead instead of having your mind constantly drifting out of relaxation mode and back to trying to remind yourself to do a certain task or bring a certain item the next day.

We hope these tips are useful in having more relaxing nights after a long day of work. If you’re looking for even more ways to relax at home, visit your local Relax The Back location to see our full line of massage chairs, recliners, and massage products. Our trained specialists can help you find the perfect product for ultimate relaxation at home.

6 New Year’s Resolutions For a Healthy 2016

New Year's Resolutions  If most of this year was spent dealing with aches and pains, aim to make 2016 a pain-free and healthy year. Next to the common cold, back pain sends more people to the doctor than any other condition. Create attainable, realistic resolutions this year that focus on health and wellness.

Add one or all of these New Year’s resolutions to your list and vow to have a healthier year while managing your aches and pains.

  • Create a healthy, ergonomic workspace: As a society, we’re spending more and more time at the office. This means we’re putting ourselves at risk for injury if our workspace isn’t spine-friendly. 33% of work-related injuries are caused by poor workstation setup. Shoulder, neck, and back pain can be avoided with a proper ergonomic workspace. Resolve to have pain-free and productive days by creating a space that allows for movement, comfort, and flexibility.
  • Make Sleep a priority: Did you get enough sleep in 2015? Chronic sleep loss can lead to serious health risks. This year, create a sleep environment that promotes relaxation and comfort. Invest in a supportive mattress and pillow to ensure you’re getting the best night sleep possible. Mood, cardiovascular health, and personal performance can improve with adequate, quality sleep.
  • Be active: Maintaining a consistent workout routine can help prevent injuries, protect your spine, and help you feel more energized and productive throughout the day. Add exercises to your routine that strengthen the abdominal muscles. These muscles help support and protect your spine.
  • Stretch Daily: Adding daily stretching into your routine allows for increased flexibility in spinal muscles, muscle tension relief, and increased blood flow. Whether your practicing simple stretching exercises or using inversion therapy, you’ll feel the benefits in your day-to-day activities.
  • Hydrate: As we know, water helps with digestion and concentration but staying hydrating is also incredibly important for spinal health, injury prevention, and muscle recovery. This year, aim to drink half of your body weight in ounces every day.
  • Unplug daily: Spend 30 minutes, an hour, or all evening, without your cell phone or computer. Take this time to relax and rest your eyes (away from a screen) after a long day. Read a book, go for a walk, or take a bath. You’ll feel less stressed and more relaxed. Unplugging before bed can also help you have a better night’s rest.

4 Ways to De-Stress This Holiday Season

Thde-stresse holiday season is filled with merriment, family time, gift giving, and traveling. Holidays can also provide much needed rest and relaxation. Unfortunately, this time of year can be filled with stress, angst, and anxiety and often leave us feeling more tired than rejuvenated. The average American will spend roughly 42 hours a year on holiday activities. That’s nearly one standard workweek a year spent shopping, wrapping and returning gifts, attending holiday parties, cooking, and traveling. Stress can do more than ruin your pre and post-holiday plans; it can also cause harm to emotional and physical health.

If you’re feeling more stressed than rested, here are a few ways to de-stress this holiday season:

  • Healthy Habits: Sticking to your fitness routine and healthy habits during the holidays can help keep stress levels down. Make time for your favorite workouts, book club, etc.
  • Recharge: Turn off your tech devices or leave them in a different room all together. It will give your eyes a much-needed break from a screen while allowing you to rest and recharge as well as spend quality time with family and friends.
  • Treat yourself: Set aside time to pamper yourself and relax. Soak in a warm bath, meditate, or listen to soothing music. Melt away holiday stress and tension with one of our many massage
  • Refocus: Take some time to set goals and plan for the upcoming months. New Year’s resolutions and health and fitness goals can help you get back into your healthy habits and exercise routine after the holidays have passed.

We hope these tips help you have a stress-free and pain-free holiday season with family and friends. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

What is Stress Doing To Your Body?

While some stress in our lives is okay, even life-saving in some situations, chronic stress can lead to mental, emotional, and physical health issues.

Stress can cause irritability and anger when dealing with life’s challenges – traffic jams on your way to the office, bills, work, kids – these situations can feel overwhelming. It also leads to health issues like high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, slow digestive functions, or a lowered immune system. The infographic below digs deeper into the affects of stress on our body.

Everyone reacts to stressful events and situations differently. Some may recover from events faster than others or react more effectively when stressful situations arise. It’s important to understand your personal limitations and how your body reacts to stress. Try these 10 ways to relax and de-stress when you feel overwhelmed. Many of these techniques only take a few minutes. Is your workplace a significant source of stress? These tips can help reduce stress while at the office.

stress

#AgeWell At Any Age: America’s Attitude on Aging

 

From the hopes of staying healthy to the fears of not being able to live independently, we all think about aging in some degree, regardless of gender or age. Even so, a recent survey by the American Physical Therapy Association showed many Americans are unaware of how and when old age will begin to affect them.

While half of those surveyed expect to lose flexibility and strength with age, a majority of American adults still expect to be living independently at the age of 80. The APTA feels these contradictory beliefs mean we have a lot to learn about healthy aging.

Negative effects of aging are avoidable. Physical therapists can help adults improve strength and flexibility, without straining hips, the lower back, and knees or causing injury, with tailored exercise routines. During Physical Therapy Month the APTA hopes to educate adults on the benefits of physical therapy as a preventive measure as well as a way to improve physical problems and slow down the effects of aging.

See more information from the survey in the infographic below. You can find more information on physical therapy month at MoveForwardPT.com.  The American Physical Therapy Association also makes it easy to find a physical therapist in your area.

physical therapy

6 Physical Therapist Tips to Help You #AgeWell

physical therapists

Physical decline is often associated with aging, and while, “on average, the strength of people in their 80s is about 40% less than that of people in their 20s”, studies are showing that it is possible to improve strength and physical function as we get older.

Physical therapists are trained to restore mobility as well as prevent injury. The can prescribe physical activity that can help you gain and maintain movement, overcome pain, and preserve your independence.

Here are six tips from physical therapists on how you can age well:

  1. You can get stronger when you’re older. Research has shown, with suitable exercise routines, it is possible to improve physical function and strength in your 60s, 70s, and even 80s and older. Progressive resistance training can also help prevent sarcopenia and frailty.
  2. You may not need surgery or drugs for low back pain. A recent study found that physical therapy might be just as effective as surgery for older adults with certain types of low back pain. Physical therapists can help you manage pain and restore mobility to your lower back.
  3. Exercise can help you avoid falls – and keep your independence. Falls are common and costly, but they can be prevented. Roughly 1 in 3 Americans 65 years and older fall each year. Group-based exercises led by a physical therapist can help improve balance and movement and reduce your risk of falls.
  4. Your bones want you to exercise. More than half of Americans over the age of 54 suffer from osteoporosis or weak bones. Exercise routines that keep you on your feet, such as jogging, dancing, and walking, can improve bone strength and reduce bone loss. Resistance exercises like weightlifting are also helpful.
  5. Your heart wants you to exercise. Exercise is one of the top ways of preventing heart disease and other cardiovascular disease, the No. 1 cause of death in the US. Research shows appropriate exercises can improve your health if you already have heart disease.
  6. Your brain wants you to exercise. Memory problems or Alzheimer’s disease, a condition that affects more than 40% of people over the age of 85, is less likely to develop in those who are physically active; even if they don’t become active until later in life.

See more tips from physical therapists at MoveForwardPT.com. Be sure to visit your local Relax The Back location to learn about products and solutions that can help you or your patients relieve pain and restore mobility.

Image via

The McKenzie Method for Back and Neck Pain

mckenzie method

Robin McKenzie, a pioneer of musculoskeletal disorders and their treatment, believed that self-treatment was the best way to achieve long lasting improvement of neck, back, and extremity disorders. In 1950, he developed the McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnostics and Therapy (MDT). The McKenzie Method is recognized worldwide as the standard for managing pain as well as the basis on which Relax The Back was founded. This system consists of the following:

  • Assessment: A well-defined algorithm leads to simple classification of spinal-related disorders and is unique to MDT. Disorders are addressed according to their unique nature with mechanical procedures utilizing movement and positions.
  • Treatment: In order to restore function and independence, minimize visits to the clinic and diminish pain quickly, MDT uniquely emphasizes active patient involvement and education.
  • Preventive measure: Educating patients to self-treat the present problem minimizes the risk of relapse and gives patients the skills to manage the pain themselves when symptoms occur.

We offer an assortment of books to help you take control of your neck and back pain. Our books focus on the McKenzie Method; providing pain relief techniques to help relieve soreness and pain no matter where you are.

If you suffer from daily pains and discomforts, or work as a physical therapist, visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with one of our trained associates. They can help you find fitness and therapy tools to help relieve and manage pain for you or your patients. Learn more about the McKenzie Method and the McKenzie Institute International at McKenzieMDT.org.

(Image source via)

 

5 Exercises for a Healthier Back

Exercise plays an important role in staying healthy and pain-free. Regular strength and stretching routines can help you maintain a healthy back while preventing future back pain and injury. Fitness Magazine editors put together an 8-minute Better Back Workout to help reduce stiffness and pain while also strengthening and conditioning back muscles. Set aside some time to try these exercises for a healthy back. Even if you aren’t experiencing pain now, these exercises can help keep pain away before it starts.

Benefits of each exercise

  • Cat-Cow Variation: Relieves tension in spine; reduces stiffness in back and hips
  • Bridge Pose: Stretches lower back, hips, quads, abs; strengthens abs
  • Extended Leg Pose: Strengthens abs; stretches hamstrings
  • Butterfly Pose: Tones abs, inner thighs, pelvic floor
  • Cobra Leg Lift: Strengthens pelvic and back muscles

Find more information on how to do each exercise for a healthy back here.

Always check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise or treatment program. If you are experiencing back pain, visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with one of our trained specialists who can help you find products to relieve daily pain and discomfort.

healthy back

3 Ways to Relieve Sciatica at Work

Sciatica relief at work

Sciatica is a term used to describe symptoms caused by compression of the sciatic nerve. Injury, pregnancy, or tight muscles in the hips, legs, and lower back can cause pain in the sciatic nerve. Symptoms can range from mild pain to sharp, burning sensations in one leg, to numbness and muscle weakness.

Sitting for long hours at a desk can make pain unbearable. Fortunately, there are ways to get relief while at work. These tips can help you cope with the daily challenges of working with sciatica:

  • Workstation setup: When you’re sitting for prolonged periods of time, it’s important to have the right support. An ergonomic office chair provides your spine with proper support and relieves pressure that can cause or worsen sciatica pain. Look for chairs that have a horseshoe cutout, such as the Lifeform Office Chair, for coccyx relief. Seating supports can also be used to reduce pressure and provide relief.
  • Posture: Be aware of your posture throughout the day. Poor posture can lead to back and sciatica pain due to your spine not being properly aligned. Having a quality office chair will support your lower back and help you maintain proper posture throughout the day. Keep your hips and knees level with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Take Breaks: Try to move away from your desk for a few minutes every hour. Take a 10-minute walk, head to a coworker’s desk to discuss something rather than emailing them, or take some time to stretch. Movement, such as walking and stretching, helps to keep muscles loose and sciatica pain at bay.

Relax The Back offers sciatica pain relief products that can reduce strain on the back and relieve pressure on spinal discs. Visit your local Relax The Back location to speak with a trained specialist who can help you find products to relieve pain and provide daily comfort.

 

Neck Arthritis: Symptoms and Pain Relief

Neck Arthritis Did you know that more than 85% of people have arthritis in their necks after the age of 60?

Neck arthritis, also known as cervical spondylosis, degenerative joint disease, or cervical osteoarthritis, is a result of age-related wear and tear of the cervical spine.

Our cervical spine, the portion of the spine that makes up our neck, is made up of bony vertebra and gelatinous discs. As we age, the cartilage in the cervical spine can begin to degenerate. As the cartilage breaks down, the underlying bone is exposed and can develop rough growths or spurs. These growths result in swelling, stiffness, and pain.

It is not uncommon for people to not experience any symptoms. However, when symptoms do occur, effective treatments are usually nonsurgical.

Symptoms of Neck Arthritis

  • Neck stiffness and pain
  • Numbness or weakness in arms, hands, legs, or feet
  • Radiating pain in shoulders and arms
  • Muscle spasms in the neck
  • Popping, cracking, grinding, or clicking sounds in the neck

Relieving Neck Arthritis Pain

Helpful, nonsurgical treatments include:

  • There are a variety of exercises to help support and improve posture. Specifically, neck exercises help strengthen and stretch the cervical spine. This helps maintain range of motion and prevent neck stiffness.
  • Cold and heat therapy can be used to reduce pain symptoms. Cold therapy can help reduce swelling in inflamed areas of the neck. Heat can help reduce soreness and pain in muscles and joints.
  • Neutral Posture is key. It’s important to properly support and align your spine and neck in neutral posture to help prevent excessive strain and pressure on your spine. Ergonomic workstations, seating supports, and quality mattresses and pillows, can help provide the support and alignment you need to reduce neck pain and strain.
  • Rest when pain is severe.

Always check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise or treatment program. If you are experiencing neck pain, visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with one of our trained specialists who can help you find products to relieve daily pain and discomfort.

Exercises for Sciatica Pain Relief

 

exercises for sciaticaSciatica is a term used to describe symptoms caused by compression of the sciatic nerve. Symptoms can range from mild pain to sharp, burning sensations in one leg, to numbness and muscle weakness. Since sciatica is a symptom of another medical condition (i.e. lumbar spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, herniated disc, etc.) determining the underlying cause of your sciatic pain is necessary to tailor exercise programs to your needs.

Targeted sciatica exercises reduce pain in the near term while also providing conditioning to help prevent future pain from occurring. A spine specialist who treats leg pain and other sciatic related symptoms, a physical therapist, or a certified athletic trainer can prescribe exercises for sciatica and teach patients how to perform them.

Exercises for Sciatica

Some may feel that bed rest is best when sciatic pain flares up however, inactivity can actually make pain worse. After a day or two of bed rest, exercising is usually better for relieving pain. Movement and exercise help keep back muscles and spinal structures strong and supportive of the back. Weakened muscles can lead to additional pain such as strain or back injury. Staying active also ensures healthy spinal discs.

Exercises for sciatica are most effective when tailored to specific conditions and done regularly – typically two times a day. It’s important to practice proper form when completing exercises to prevent or reduce future pain and receive the maximum benefit from the moves.

Strengthening your core and back muscles, stretching exercises, hamstring stretches, and aerobics are typical features of a sciatica exercise program. If you’re suffering from sciatic pain, speak with your doctor to determine the best exercise program for you.

Below are a few targeted exercises for sciatica from Spine-Health:

How we can help

Relax The Back offers sciatica pain relief products that can reduce strain on the back and relieve pressure on spinal discs. When you stop by your local Relax The Back location, a trained specialist can help you find products to relieve pain and provide daily comfort. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more pain relief information and tips.

5 Tips For Everyday Back Pain

​Tips for Everyday Back Pain

There are many causes of back pain. Usually, the pain is centered in the lower back. According to Gunnar Andersson, MD, PhD, professor and chairman emeritus of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, the weight of our upper bodies puts loads on our lower back causing mechanical stress and strain to this part of our body.

Roughly 2% to 10% of people who experience back pain will develop chronic low back pain, affecting their daily living for at least 3 months. The following tips can help you manage and prevent back pain. Incorporate these into your daily routine to find relief:

  • Support your spine while asleep: Two out of three people have trouble sleeping due to chronic pain. A quality mattress and pillow will reduce pressure on your spine, improve circulation, and relieve muscle tension while providing proper neck and spine alignment. Be sure to find a mattress and pillow that fit your specific sleep positions and body type.
  • Cold therapy: Best if applied soon after an activity that causes stiffness or pain, or after an injury occurs, a simple ice pack or cold therapy pad is proven to treat pain in your back.
  • Heat therapy: Some people find more relief with cold therapy, others with heat. Heat therapy provides healing benefits as well as relief from pain. Try a heated massage cushion for ultimate relief and comfort. Alternate between cold and heat therapy to find which one works best for your individual needs.
  • Proper alignment at work: When your spine isn’t properly aligned extra pressure is placed on muscles and ligaments. Whether sitting in an ergonomic office chair or using a standing desk, this guide to perfect posture can help you prevent back pain.
  • Hamstring stretches: Tight hamstrings can limit the motion of your pelvis, which causes strain in your lower back. Making time to perform hamstring stretches once or twice a day can lengthen hamstrings and ease tension and stress in your lower back. Talk with your doctor or physical therapist before starting any new routines.

Stop by your local Relax The Back store to speak with one of our trained specialists who can help you find the perfect product to address your pain. Also, through July 31st receive a $20 instant credit when you come in for a free pillow fitting!

Related Reading:

Top 5 Foam Rolling Myths

Foam Rolling Last month, we talked about foam rolling exercises and the major health benefits. 10-15 minutes a day is all you need to feel benefits such as increased flexibility and range of motion, muscle tension relief, and much more.

While we are advocates of the foam roller, we’ve seen hesitations and myths surrounding this fitness tool. Fitbie spoke with New York-based sports medicine physician and author, Jordan Metzl, MD about the top foam rolling myths. Below we share these debunked myths and offer ways you can start incorporating foam rolling into your everyday routine:

Myth: I stretch, so I do not need to foam roll.

Stretching before and after a workout does help to prevent soreness and injuries however, foam rolling does even more. Not only will you work out discomfort and muscle tenderness, you’ll also improve muscle flexibility better than stretching alone. From the active or inactive, the young or the old, foam rolling can help everyone. Jordan Metzl recommends foam rolling before and after a workout. However, if you only have time to do one, after a workout is better.

Myth: I shouldn’t foam roll because it hurts.

“It hurts so good” is a common phrase among foam rolling enthusiasts. Foam rolling can hurt but it gets better with time. One study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercises found that participants who used a foam roller on their legs for 20 minutes after a squat routine experienced half the soreness with greater range of motion than those who did not. The more you use a foam roller, the less painful it will be.

Myth: It does not matter how fast I roll.

While moving quickly through the exercises may hurt less, rolling out slowly will provide the most benefit. Metzl states, the idea is to release the muscle. Find a tender spot and slowly press into the area, rolling out the kink in short movements for 30 to 60 seconds. Continue to roll in larger sweeping motions to work out more of the muscle area.

Myth: I can roll out everything!

While there are numerous benefits of foam rolling, they do not apply to every part of your body. Avoid bony areas such as the knee or the outside of the hip, advises Metzl. The most popular places to use a foam roller are the glutes, lower and upper back, IT band, hamstrings, calves and quads. Try these exercises to target these areas.

Myth: The type of foam roller I use doesn’t matter.

There are a number of different types of foam rollers on the market. It’s important to determine which one is right for your needs. With our Exercise and Therapy Foam Rollers you’ll get a deep release and stretch. It can also be used as a body cushion and support. The Grid is great for traveling and the grooves add an even deeper stretch and massage. A rule of thumb to remember: the higher the density, the more intense the massage.

Visit your local Relax The Back store to try our selection of foam rollers and speak with one of our trained specialists. They can help you find a foam roller fit for your needs.

Scoliosis Awareness Month

​scoliosis

Each June, the Scoliosis Research Society commemorates Scoliosis Awareness Month as a way to highlight the importance of early detection, education, and public awareness of scoliosis. Scoliosis is not a disease. It is a spinal condition that affects its alignment causing the spine to curve side to side in an “S” or “C” shape. Scoliosis develops predominately in infants and adolescents, although it has been diagnosed in adults as well. It is possible that adult scoliosis is the progression of an early childhood condition that was not treated or diagnosed before.

Data and facts about Scoliosis:

  • Scoliosis is the most common spinal deformity in the country
  • There are more than 3 million US cases per year
  • It is diagnosed equally among males and females, though females are 8 times more likely than males to have curves that require treatment
  • Primary age of onset is 10-15 years old
  • There are several types of scoliosis based on the cause and age when the curve develops
  • In 80%-85% of cases, scoliosis has no identifiable cause

Importance of early detection

Early detection of scoliosis in adolescents can help reduce the number of patients who will need surgery in the future. Since adolescents’ bones are not fully hardened, non-surgical treatments such as bracing can be employed to treat the curvature while slowing or stopping the progression. One recent study established the effectiveness of bracing as an early, non-operative treatment. This form of care may serve as a great benefit to patients as well as potential cost savings for the health care system.

Adult Scoliosis

Adult Scoliosis is often found when patients see a doctor regarding back pain or pain radiating down their legs. When this condition is discovered in adults, treatment is focused more on alleviating pain and restoring function while correcting the curvature of the spine. A large majority of adults do not have disabling symptoms that require surgery. Simple measures such as exercises, periodic observation, and over the counter pain relievers can help manage adult scoliosis.

At Relax The Back, we have a number of products, such as such as Lumbar Supports and Tempur-pedic pillows, that can help provide spinal support, improve posture, sooth sore muscles, and relieve pressure on your spine. Be sure to visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with one of our trained specialists who can help you find the relief.

Beat the Heat and Back Pain

Wheat and back painith the official start to summer only a few weeks away, the weather is starting to heat up. For those living with chronic pain, high temperatures are harder to tolerate. Changes in weather affect everyone in different ways. It’s important to listen to your body so, you can know how to prepare and react when the forecast calls for warmer temps.

These simple tips can help you beat the heat and back pain this summer:

  • Stay inside: Perhaps the easiest way to keep pain at a minimum is to stay indoors when conditions outdoors become unbearable. If you must be outside, be sure to take breaks in a cool area and try not to overexert yourself.
  • Adjust the AC: Since temperature and humidity can each play a role in elevating pain levels, keep your home cool and humidity low. Dehumidifiers can help control the humidity in your home.
  • Cooling Products: From your home to your office, you can find cooling comfort wherever you are. A layer of cool gel in Technogel Pillows and Living Supports disperses body heat, offering cool, refreshing comfort while sleeping, working, or commuting. Select Tempur-Pedic Mattress models come with TEMPUR-Breeze cooling material that dissipates heat to help keep you cool at night.
  • Swimming and Water Therapy: Swimming routines for back pain are beneficial in numerous ways. Cool off in the water while you strengthen weak back and neck muscles with an aerobic exercise that is easy on the joints. Water Therapy programs can also help those with conditions such as osteoarthritis, muscle strains, and back and neck pain.
  • Drink H20: It’s equally important to stay hydrated during these summer months. Drinking plenty of water will help keep chronic pain at bay.

Be sure to visit your local Relax The Back location to speak with one of our trained specialists who can help you stay pain-free and productive this summer.

Image via

5 Tips for Back Pain Relief at the Office

5 Tips for Back Pain Relief at the Office

After the common cold, back pain is the second most common cause of missing work. Back pain, whether sharp, dull, or achy, can make it difficult to concentrate at the office. While many occupations can contribute to or worsen back pain, there are tips you can follow for back pain relief at the office.

There are a number of causes of back pain at the office. Poor posture, repetitive movements, and exerting too much force on your lower back are the most common causes of pain.

If you experience back pain at the office, find relief and prevent future pain with these five tips:

  • Stretch Daily: There are many benefits of daily stretching. Increase flexibility, relieve pain and tightness, and increase range of motion by incorporating stretches into your daily routine. Office stretches can offer relief right where you need it most.
  • Maintain Posture: Keep posture in mind while at the office. Maintaining posture helps prevent low back pain as well as improve muscle tone and circulation. Follow these tips for maintaining proper posture in different positions.
  • Move Often: Set timers or alarms as a reminder to move during the day. Staying in any position, sitting or standing, for prolonged periods of time can cause muscle stiffness and pain. Plan to move around for a few minutes, every hour.
  • Proper Ergonomics: Setting up an ergonomic workstation will help ensure you’re working the least compromising position. Lumbar support cushions, ergonomic office chairs, and standing desks provide proper ergonomic support at different price points.
  • Listen to your body: If there are days where you are feeling under the weather, take breaks when needed. If you’re sitting for long periods of time and you start to feel pain, stretch or stand up for a few minutes. Changing positions occasionally throughout the day can help you stay comfortable at the office.